European stock indices were trading mixed today but closed the session near record highs. Market participants hope that massive stimulus measures coupled with the swift vaccination campaign will prompt a sustainable recovery of the European economy. Thus, the composite index of the largest enterprises of the European region Stoxx Europe 600 is going to end the week in positive territory for the sixth week in a row. At the time of writing, it rose by 0.05% at to 437.10.
At the same time, Britain's blue-chip FTSE 100 index slipped by 0.30%, while the Italian FTSE MIB lost 0.50%, and the Spanish IBEX 35 declined by 0.72%. French CAC 40, on the other hand, climbed by 0.01% as well as German DAX that rose by 0.23%
According to statistics, industrial production in Germany and France declined in February due to quarantine restrictive measures aimed at containing the spread of COVID-19. At the same time, German exports continued to recover in February.
Yesterday, the head of the US Federal Reserve, Jerome Powell, reminded at the spring meetings of the International Monetary Fund that the US regulator will not curtail the volume of stimulus packages until there is obvious progress in economic recovery. To achieve this goal, it is necessary to take control of the coronavirus spread across the world. The Fed's Chair assured the public that budgetary incentives and the active rollout of the vaccination program would soon allow the US economy to fully reopen.
Meanwhile, Europe is clearly lagging behind the United States in terms of vaccination. Thus, from 13% to 15% of the adult population has been vaccinated in four large European countries. This is much less than in the US and the UK. However, it should be admitted that this gap is gradually becoming smaller. For example, German Health Minister Jens Spahn recently announced in his Twitter that 1.375 million vaccines have been sold in Germany over the past two days. This became possible after the German government allowed general practitioners to vaccinate against COVD-19.
At the same time, the situation around the AstraZeneca vaccine has not become any better. Spain, Italy, Belgium, and many other countries have already rushed to impose age restrictions for using this vaccine due to the side effects that potentially cause blood clots in patients.
The recent economic data from Europe remains controversial. Industrial production in Germany, France, and Spain declined notably in March which indicated a possible contraction in Eurozone GDP for the first quarter.
TUI AG shares fell by 4.8%, while the stocks of Actividades de Construccion y Servicios SA sank by 0.5%. At the same time, Airbus SE gained 2.7%.
A stronger US dollar favors the European markets. The euro has depreciated significantly against the world's reserve currency, which accelerates inflation, the economy and regional stock markets. The British pound has also lost ground, thus prompting a rise in the UK stock market that reached pre-crisis levels.